GBA

North America

Shrek the Third

by Mike Gamin - May 27, 2007, 8:03 am PDT
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6

Lost Vikings + Movie License = Not all bad

When any large-scale movie for kids hits the theaters, there's usually a game to help promote it on every platform known to man. Shrek the Third is no different. They didn't even skip the Game Boy Advance, which many consider to be a last-gen system.

The game itself is a basic platformer that adds a mechanic similar to the one seen in the classic Lost Vikings (which was re-released on GBA a few years ago). It is a single player game where multiple characters are in the stage at the same time. The player can switch between them with the L and R buttons. The playable characters in the game are Shrek, Donkey, Puss, and Arthur, and each one has different abilities. For example, Shrek has more health but can't jump very high, and Puss can climb walls but isn't very strong. These abilities must all be used to progress through the levels, so players will find themselves constantly switching between characters in order to clear a path so that all of them can reach the goal. All four characters aren't available in every stage, though. Most of the time it will just be two of them, which simplifies the experience quite a bit.

Puzzles are definitely aimed at the target audience of the game, young kids, but the mechanic does allow for some interesting situations. The developers did a good job of differentiating the abilities of the characters enough that certain special items may be overlooked if the player doesn't keep an eye out for areas that are unreachable to all but one of the characters. Other aspects of the level design feel like a very average platformer, but there are some glaring flaws that hurt the experience. First, lava and water are absolutely deadly. If you fall into either one, you have to start all the way at the beginning of the level. This wouldn't be so bad if some of the areas weren't so incredibly frustrating. In one part, Arthur must jump from a vine to a platform over some lava. In order to avoid bumping into the ceiling of the cavern, the jump must be started from the absolute lowest point of the vine. The problem there is that there is no good graphical indication of where he will fall off the vine when climbing down. It's a constant guessing game. Go for the jump and possibly hit the ceiling and not make it, or hit down on the D-pad one more time and hope he doesn't let go completely. To make matters worse, this point in the level is at the very end. I personally replayed the thing about half a dozen times before finally making the jump. Needless to say, it was extremely frustrating.

Overall, the game is all right while it lasts. It only took me around three hours of gaming to do everything there is to do. Kids who are fans of the movies will probably enjoy every minute of it, but parents may want to find a longer game to invest their money in.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
7 5 6 5 2 6
Graphics
7

Visuals are very nice for a Game Boy Advance game. Character sprites are made up of rendered sequences similar to the Donkey Kong Country games. This allows for a pretty exact representation of the movie versions of the characters. Animations are fluid and appealing. Backgrounds and obstacles are colorful but very repetitive. All in all, the presentation is nice but could definitely be better.

Sound
5

A very short musical loop is repeated throughout the entire game, but character voices are a nice touch.

Control
6

It's pretty standard platforming fare here. Response time on jumps could be a little better for the slower characters (like Shrek).

Gameplay
5

Level design is good at times, but stupidly frustrating at others. Watch out for the lava!

Lastability
2

It's been a while since I've played a game this short. Don't expect to get much out of it.

Final
6

There have definitely been worse games based off of movies. This game will probably find an audience with younger fans, but it is far from a deep experience.

Summary

Pros
  • Rendered sprites look great.
  • Switching characters throughout the levels is fun.
Cons
  • Environments are very repetitive.
  • Frustrating level design issues add the wrong kind of difficulty.
  • The game only takes around three hours to finish.
Review Page 2: Conclusion

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Genre Action
Developer Vicarious Visions
Players1
Controllers

Worldwide Releases

na: Shrek the Third
Release May 15, 2007
PublisherActivision
RatingEveryone
eu: Shrek the Third
Release Jun 22, 2007
PublisherActivision

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